FALL SUNDAY: OFF SEASON TREATS

Officially, I was supposed to do nothing. I was supposed to lie on the same couch where I had been for the past nine days and rest. And ice. And breathe.

I had just had the quintessential ski town surgery, an ACL repair. This after having had had the quintessential fall on the last good powder day of the season back in March. Just chill out, friends told me. Ice at least four hours a day. Maybe six. Ten even. You can never ice enough.

Quincy, age 3, holds up a prize apple.

But I had iced enough. I had been a good patient, a very good patient for a whole week. And patient I am not. Officially, I was bored. From my couch-side window, I could see the last yellow leaves of fall spiraling down to the river. The sky was a cobalt blue, the kind of blue you only get in the fall. Right before the seasons change and the snow tumbles to the ground. I needed to get outside. I needed to play with my family in that crisp autumnal air and feel alive. The hours of my day were starting to feel like those leaves that sputtered by my window, aimless and drifting, dry and brittle.

The problem was I couldn’t stand. Or I couldn’t stand for long without feeling a throbbing burn in my left leg. What could we do for a Sunday adventure that was outside where little standing was required? A lot, in turns out, if we were willing to modify our plans and get creative.

My husband and our two girls, Siri and Quincy, desperately wanted to pick apples. It was our family ritual for the fall. Usually, we hop on bikes and stealthily cycle around town, plucking apples from the trees that miners had the good foresight to plant. Then we bring the apples home, make our favorite fall apple brunch, and make applesauce, passing the jars out to friends and family.

This year we drove instead. It felt criminal to drive around Telluride’s compact ten blocks on such a glorious day. Yet, when we found our tree, it was worth it. Andy whacked the apples out of the tree, while the girls chased and gathered them, bringing them to their laid-up mom, who sat reclined on curb. It was a silly scene, but it worked: we were outside together and having fun.

Sitting on the sidewalk and being so still while my family bustled around me, I realized that prior to this injury, I might have filled the day with ten different activities. Sure, we would have picked apples but that might have come after I’d gone mountain biking and before we rushed someone off to a playdate. Today, apple picking was all that we were doing. And there was a great peace in that. We would pick apples, and we would go home, where we would make yummy treats with them.

Siri and Quincy sample the goods.

Looking up at Ajax Peak and the new forming ice on Ingram falls, I felt some of the restless fly away from me. I could feel the crisp fall air move over my skin, and the sun thawing out my well-iced leg. It felt good to be out of the house. But more importantly, it felt good to do less, in a world where we often do so much.

After a few hours, the four of us carted our load back to the house to make our favorite brunch: baked apples with sausage, cheddar cheese, and maple syrup. I’ve included the recipe below. Happy Fall.

 

 

 

Andy’s Favorite Fall Breakfast

1/2 lb bulk breakfast sausage
Mess of apples (about 4 cups) cored and cut into bite sized chunks
1/4 cup maple syrup
6 oz. white cheddar, grated
1/4 t. cinnamon, allspice, ginger (optional, to taste)

Sauté the sausage until it begins to brown.  Add the apples and continue until the apples are golden.  Add maple syrup and spices, cover, turn down and simmer until the apples have fully softened (about 10 min.). Just before serving, stir in the grated cheddar.

Serve as a topping for pancakes and waffles or enjoy by itself.

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